Katerina has spent nearly ten roubles on the funeral feast—an enormous sum for her—and Sonya begins to fear that Katerina is losing her senses. Amalia the landlady helps Katerina in her preparations but Katerina quickly becomes upset, wondering whether Amalia thinks she is “better” than Katerina and the children. Very few tenants arrive for the meal, and those who do seem only interested in eating.
Another instance of Katerina’s desire to prove her noble birth. Katerina has spent lavishly on the funeral feast, with money that could have gone to the children’s food and to rent, in order to show her neighbors that she is still of high social rank, despite the family’s obvious poverty. None of the neighbors are fooled by this demonstration.
Raskolnikov arrives and Katerina thanks him for coming and claims he is destined for an esteemed university job. Katerina complains to Raskolnikov of Amalia the landlady’s snobbery, and, between coughs, ridicules her other guests, whispering in his ear. Sonya enters, bringing Luzhin’s apologies that he cannot attend. This pleases Katerina.
This is not the only time someone tells Raskolnikov he is destined for greatness. Raskolnikov’s mother also believes, based on the publication of his magazine article, that he is capable of obtaining a post as a university professor.
Katerina continues to ridicule the guests, and one remarks on Marmeladov’s drinking problem, increasing her consternation. Sonya worries that her stepmother is going to cause a scene. Katerina appears to believe, based on an offhand remark of Luzhin’s, that she will receive part of Marmeladov’s government pension, even though he served without distinction and lost his job out of drunkenness. Katerina passes around the certificate of merit she once received in school and says she plans to open a school for girls with the pension she obtains.
Katerina’s beliefs are so far removed from the realm of the possible as to be humorous—if they weren’t so tragic. Marmeladov earned no pension because he was fired from every post he ever held. And a school for women would be incredibly difficult to open even under promising financial circumstances. Katerina would never be able to raise enough money to start the program. Sonya knows this but attempts to humor her stepmother.
Amalia, upset that she has been ignored at the meal, makes a pointed comment that Katerina must make sure the linens are clean at this proposed school for girls. They begin fighting, with Amalia demanding back-payment for the rent, and Katerina accusing Amalia of heartlessness, since she asks for money on the day of the funeral and banquet.
Amalia once again finds an excuse to pick a fight with Katerina, and to demand that the family vacate the apartment because they have not paid rent. Katerina considers Amalia’s behavior especially rude because it dishonors the memory of her departed husband.
Amalia and Katerina insult each other and their families—Katerina does not countenance any insult to her officer father, and Amalia demands that they leave the apartment immediately because they have not paid. The children cry and others guests laugh uproariously, until Luzhin enters and Katerina goes up to speak with him.
It seems likely that this fight will indeed result in Katerina’s and the children’s removal from the apartment. But Luzhin’s entrance delays this eviction—at least for a moment.